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CHIPS Articles: Ready for the Fight – Newest Information Warfare WTI Level 4s Graduate

Ready for the Fight – Newest Information Warfare WTI Level 4s Graduate
By Lt. Cameron J. Woods, NIWDC Public Affairs Office - April-June 2020
Norfolk, Va. – Rear Adm. Jeff Scheidt, Commander, Naval Information Warfighting Development Center (NIWDC), presided over the Warfare Tactic Instructor (WTI) patching ceremony Apr. 2, 2020, which marks the fourth class of WTIs since the programs initial course in 2018. All 18 Information Warfare (IW) Sailors, 17 commissioned officers and one senior enlisted, completed the challenging 10-week course culminating in a ceremony where they received their patches and designee letters.

The Navy’s newest Level 4 WTIs are Lieutenant Commanders A. Johnson, M. Morris, G. Palanca, A. Pospischil, N. Walker, A. Youngblood, and Lieutenants J. Abell, E. Arrow, S. Bridenbecker, A. Crosby, K. Danai, B. Derenbecker, M. Hughes, M. Nguyen, C. Swavely, W. Tooman, CWO2 H. Webster, and CTNC C. Overman.

This class of WTIs was the first to complete the new, tailor-built IW WTI course, designed to educate and challenge future IW leaders through a mixture of academic and practical educational blocks. All of the candidates completed an initial 3-week baseline, where they received instruction on current and near-future IW related topics focused through the pillars of Battlespace Awareness, Assured Command and Control, and Integrated Fires.

Following the baseline, candidates executed seven weeks of core training, specifically designed for their specialties, and culminated in the presentation of a final project. In these final projects, candidates were required to identify and propose potential solutions to some of the most serious challenges facing the IW community. These 18 graduates bring the total of IW WTIs in the fleet today to 52, adding significantly to the growing footprint.

In his opening remarks, Rear Adm. Scheidt stated, “This ceremony marks both a culmination and a beginning, a culmination in recognizing your hard work and dedication, and a beginning to your going forward as experts, teachers, and learners.”

The need to increase information capabilities to respond to today’s conflicts fought in the information environment is a large portion of NIWDC’s mission. “The value of this (WTI) title will be determined by your actions,” commented Rear Adm. Scheidt. “Your tenacity, intellectual ability, and resiliency will project across our Navy. Your competency will be valued, and your influence will be broad.”

Also in virtual attendance was Vice Adm. Brian B. Brown, Commander, NAVIFOR and Type Commander for Cyber. “This WTI process is only a beginning to how we must continue to work as a community to deliver high-end warfighting. This cadre of IW Sailors is ready not only to meet this expectation but exceed it.”

Prior to the official ceremony, the graduates participated in a welcoming session with several prior course graduates to discuss the meaning of the WTI designation and what is required of those who wear the patch. While the trademarks of being a WTI are focused around being lifelong humble and approachable learners and teachers, the WTI cadre stressed the significance of the WTI network as a whole. Just as IW draws its power from connecting and synchronizing operations, the WTI cadre draws its strength from the connections they cultivate inside and outside of the IW community.

In addition to the designation letter, commissioned graduates will receive the associated IW WTI Additional Qualification Designator (AQD): GW1 for Electronic Warfare, GW2 for Intelligence Operations, GW3 for Meteorology and Oceanography, GW4 for Information Operations, GW5 for Space, and GW6 for Command and Control/Cyberspace Operations. For the enlisted graduates an equivalent Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC) is being developed.

The most recent NIWDC WTIs are IW Community Officers, senior enlisted and civilians who complete advanced training and are developing tactical expertise across four IW mission areas – Command and Control/Cyberspace Operations, Electronic Warfare, Intelligence Operations, and Meteorology and Oceanography.

The Information Warfare WTI program (IWWP) is open to: commissioned officers O2 (with the requirement of the IW Officer designation and promotion to O3 before completion of Level 4) through O4; Chief Warrant Officers 2 through 4 who have already earned an IW Officer designation pin; senior enlisted paygrades E7 though E9 who have earned an Enlisted IW Specialist designator pin; and GS/GG 11 through 14 civilians assigned to IW commands. The WTI program is designed for those who meet pay-grade or rank requirements, and demonstrate both the personality and tactical ability needed to continually increase IW contributions to distributed maritime combat power.

NIWDC leverages the advantages of a multi-domain environment, shifting from traditional platform-centric warfare tactics toward an integrated holistic approach capitalizing on warfighting power in multiple domains at sea and on shore.

In March 2017 then Commander, Naval Information Forces (NAVIFOR), Rear Adm. Matthew Kohler (now Vice Adm., Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare/Director of Naval Intelligence), announced the initial operational capability of the NIWDC in Norfolk, Va. stating, “NIWDC will deliver advanced Information Warfare training; tactics, techniques and procedures; as well as Information Warfare tactics instructors."

NIWDC is the Navy’s IW tactical center of excellence, which enhances fleet high-end warfighting capabilities and readiness across the operational and tactical levels of war. For more information on the IWWP, email niwdc_iw_wti.fct@navy.mil. To keep up to date with the latest news from NIWDC or Navy cyber in general, visit https://www.navy.mil/local/navifor/ or NAVIFOR’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/NavalInformationForces/.

The worldwide pandemic did not stop the Warfare Tactic Instructor (WTI) graduation ceremony from taking place.  Naval Information Warfighting Development Center (NIWDC) WTI graduates practiced social distancing protocols during their graduation ceremony April 2, 2020.  In previous ceremonies Rear Adm. Jeff Scheidt, Commander, NIWDC, would ‘patch’ each graduate similar to a pinning ceremony, except with a velcro WTI patch.
The worldwide pandemic did not stop the Warfare Tactic Instructor (WTI) graduation ceremony from taking place. Naval Information Warfighting Development Center (NIWDC) WTI graduates practiced social distancing protocols during their graduation ceremony April 2, 2020. In previous ceremonies Rear Adm. Jeff Scheidt, Commander, NIWDC, would ‘patch’ each graduate similar to a pinning ceremony, except with a velcro WTI patch.

Collage of individual photographs of the Navy’s newest Level 4 WTIs –  Lieutenant Commanders A. Johnson, M. Morris, G. Palanca, A. Pospischil, N. Walker, A. Youngblood, and Lieutenants J. Abell, E. Arrow, S. Bridenbecker, A. Crosby, K. Danai, B. Derenbecker, M. Hughes, M. Nguyen, C. Swavely, W. Tooman, CWO2 H. Webster, and CTNC C. Overman.
Collage of individual photographs of the Navy’s newest Level 4 WTIs – Lieutenant Commanders A. Johnson, M. Morris, G. Palanca, A. Pospischil, N. Walker, A. Youngblood, and Lieutenants J. Abell, E. Arrow, S. Bridenbecker, A. Crosby, K. Danai, B. Derenbecker, M. Hughes, M. Nguyen, C. Swavely, W. Tooman, CWO2 H. Webster, and CTNC C. Overman.
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